1Godwin Okwoche Idoko
2Celine Ugboga Idoko
1Technical Education Department
College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Benue State
2Science Education Department,
University of Agriculture Makurdi
Not every activity produces the desired result(s). For long, teachers in our TVET programmes have been bereft of outstanding results because their skills have become obsolete and many have not been provided with opportunity to update those skills. This article calls for a revitalized and reengineered TVET programme where practitioners are frequently retrained to remain relevant in these fast changing environments. Recommendations are also made to enhance national development.
One of the major functions of education, according to Ngoka (1992) is to provide the learner certain fundamental and specific skills which he will need upon entry into the world of work. There is a saying; when your neighbour is out of work, it is a recession; when you are out of work; it is a depression. May be one will appreciate the impact of depression more when he has done all to convince himself that he is employable but has no access to salaried jobs. It’s no overstatement to say that there are more graduates in the labour market than there are employment opportunities. Several reasons for this situation abound ranging from lack of experience and employable skills to lack of appropriate institutions and industrial settings to absorb them. A careful search in the classified sections of any major newspaper or media adverts will reveal that very few positions for entry-level technicians are actually available. There may be shortage of experienced technicians in the existing establishments/industries but it is not enough to require the hiring and training of entry-level technicians. Always, some sort of pre-training is an advantage. The case is worse with graduates who don’t have the basic saleable skills. Academic and vocational institutions seem to be training for unemployment. According to Coleman (1991), internships and co-op work/study programmes give a small number of students the ammunition to do battle in the technical job market after graduation.
For the sake of posterity, the focus of education in our institutions should be youth-centred and targeted. They should be empowered to be relevant now and in future. Varus and Fletcher (2006) defined youth empowerment as an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority and agency to make decisions and implement changes in their own lives and the lives of other people including youth and adults. They further addressed youth empowerment as a gateway to inter-generational equity, civic engagement and democracy building.
The youth with the right skills, work attitude, enthusiasm, motivation, initiative and organizational acumen is well prepared to live a life in control of the changes of his time. With this in view, curriculum planners need to de-emphasis Utopian programmes while teachers should make their lessons as utilitarian as possible.
Skills for Work and Life
Tripathi defined skill development as a process of acquiring and sharpening capabilities to perform various factions associated with their present and future roles. Vocation training and skill development are the tools to improve the productivity of the labour force of any country. They are the most important factors of human capital development of the country.
Participants at the 3rd UNESCO TVET congress (2012) concluded that the development of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) should be top priority in the quest to build inclusive and greener societies and tackle global unemployment. That position paper disclosed that youth joblessness has skyrocketed in many countries. The participants called for deep transformation and expansion of TVET while they identified areas of action. These include:
- Stakeholders’ participation in governance
- Improving the relevance of TVET
- Expanding access to TVET
- Improving quality and equity
- Adapting qualifications and developing pathways to TVET that provide young people with skills that are relevant to labour market.
- Increasing investment in TVET and diversifying financing, and
- Advocating for TVET to make it more attractive for learners’ families and all other stakeholders (UNESCO, 2012).
Students’ Work Experience
Job seekers will agree that work experience is a powerful and indeed valuable asset. Potential employers consider employability or work readiness as one of the strong attributes a potential employee should posses. May be with few exceptions, the class or type of degree is no longer their main consideration. Increasingly, employees are expected to be problem-solvers and entrepreneurs. They are expected to demonstrate good communication skills, initiative and maturity that come from having already experienced the world of work in some way.
This trend demands that students’ internship and work experience schemes (SIWES) be carefully planned and students posted to relevant establishments for their hands-on experience. Industry/Establishment-based supervisors should endeavour to instill in these interns such soft skills are as communication, management, innovation, professionalism, project management and team work. Willingness and enthusiasm are important if they will benefit from these programmes.
The Need for Training and Retraining of TVET Teachers in Nigeria
To make the education industry more viable and be up to date the best practices as obtained round the globe, retraining programmes should be made a focal point in the curriculum of TVET. There is a popular belief that “being current is the currency of life.” In today’s world of work, retraining is the pathway to excellence. According to Mohammed, Saud and Ahmed (2011), curriculum should be seen as an overall plan for instruction. It should consist of statement of aims and objectives of content in terms of theoretical knowledge, practical skills to be acquired, attitudes towards work, and necessary support materials to be used in its presentation. Curriculum content improvement should a core component of TVET. Good quality TVET focuses on the teachers, i.e those who specialize in their field. Mohammed et al (2011) correctly noted that many teaching staff who were employed possessed necessary technical skills but had no more opportunity to undertake professional training.
In the Nigerian context, most teachers are recruited directly after graduation from colleges of education or universities as the case may be, based on their academic qualifications and do not have the adequate work-based experience. The current extension of the teaching practice and the students’ internship periods to cover several months at a stretch is in the right direction, but it must be emphasized that retraining after job placement cannot be overstressed. While teacher training in TVET is seen as the main role in providing the skills needed to fulfill the school level TVET needs, retraining is the upgrading of existing skills and or acquiring of new ones. The technical fields where retraining of staff are stressed are more likely to attract more enrolment of students, and students more often than not, will choose those fields as their career path.
This article suggests no alternative to staff retraining programmes and curriculum innovations in line with the best practices. International standards for best practices are therefore a hallmark. Hammer and Champy (1993) suggested that the focus of performance in a reengineered organization shifts from activity to results. An employee’s performance in a reengineered job this year does not guarantee anything about his/her performance in the years to come. With the goal of performance improvement in mind, there should be an on-going education, annual competencies training and performance-based upgrades to enhance skills and knowledge of our classroom teachers of vocational education and industry based technicians.
Benefits of Re-Training Programme
1. It improves business performance, increase profit margin and boost staff morale
2. It increases staff productivity
3. Staff adjust to rapidly changing job requirements
Retraining Methods include:
1. Seminars, workshops, and conferences
2. On-the-job training-while they perform their regular jobs.
3. Off-the-job training-lectures, special studies, films, TV conferences or discussions, case studies, role playing, simulations, programmed instruction and laboratory training.
Funding TVET Programmes
Financing of TVET programmes has always been on the front burner in executive deliberations and fora of policy makers and stakeholders. Sadly however, TVET remains a maximum programme with minimum funding. No government can equitably meet all the needs of the state. There is therefore need to urgently mobilize additional resources to appropriately and sustainably fund TVET especially if any form of expansion and quality improvement is envisioned.
A regional TVET conference in Vietnam (2011) recommended that quantitative increase should be accompanied by quality improvement, which will require new occupational and curricula standards, modern training equipment, more and updated training materials, more and competent instructors, etc. For the above to be realized all hands must be on deck to provide the needed resources both from governmental and non-governmental bodies, corporate organizations and other employers of labour. Government should carry out a fact-finding study on TVET financing in Nigeria to assess the current state of financing of TVET and to recommend further activities to be undertaken to work towards a sustainable system. Problems and challenges should be addressed in the future development of a comprehensive financing framework.
To overhaul our institutions and ameliorate the harsh financial realities of our students, campus jobs should be created for students. Young students working for a specified number of hours each week in addition to their full time study is common in many countries of the world (Abiola, 2012). These could be in the areas of teaching and research assistants for senior level undergraduate students, facilities and maintenance staff positions, library services, transportation, gardening and cleaning workers, accommodation and hospitality workers, ad-hoc medical officers, etc.
A visit to many campuses will reveal a sanitary menace which students could be used for. These menial jobs could none-the less augment their financial capabilities. If this is carefully organized, students could develop entrepreneurial skills from such on-campus jobs since learning is not restricted to the four walls of the classroom.
Other benefits of campus level jobs could include;
1. Personal development
2. Popularity within and outside the campuses
3. Students’ confidence boosted, and
4. Students will build their curriculum vitae.
Mark Twain’s Maxim, “Never let schooling interfere with your education” finds expression in on-campus engagement of students. (Quote Investigator, 2010).
It has become an adage that a nation without good plumbers will neither have good water systems nor safe fresh water to drink. Conscious of this fact, the present administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has brought to the front burner of his transformation Agenda, Technical and Vocational Education and Training. According to Akinyemi (2012), the glass ceiling on the academic and professional progressions of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, is now broken. He stressed that the age long apathy to the development of this very important educational sub-sector is fast disappearing. Technical and vocational education and training programmes are now offered as general education and specialized disciplines at the Basic Education and Post Basic Education levels generously and without discrimination. A good number of the newly established universities are science and technology inclined.
In a bid to address the problem of unemployment, this administration launched the Graduate Internship Programme (GIP) in October 2012. This was to create opportunity for graduates to be attached to firms/organizations, where they can work for a year and enjoy a monthly stipend of N25,000.00 with a Group Life and Accident Insurance. This was also intended to enable interns gain working experience and enhance their employability skills. The scheme aims at implementation of different programmes including Maternal and Child Health, Public Works, Employment schemes, Mass transit programmes, Vocational Training and skill acquisition schemes. The subsidy Reinvestment Project (SURE-P) has added impetus to the GIP by supplying the needed financial back up.
According to Bashir, Zaheer and Sabahat (2012), Economic development and technological advancement cannot be attained without the general status of technical and vocational competency embodied in its workforce. To them, it is essential to visualize the need for vocational training not as meeting immediate demands only but responding to the underlying need for a long-run structural change in the production technology of a nation. Before now, technical training in Nigeria was neither supporting a high economic growth nor increasing employment opportunities due to some reasons. Technical education needs to be focused on the skills demanded by domestic and global markets, they contended.
Education, vocational training and skill development have been considered main factor of human capital from which life time earning and indirect positive benefits are formed for an individual. According to Amjad (2005) the skill development and vocational training impacts on national products and competitiveness. He further stressed that education and skilled labour force assist countries in transformation of economy from the labour-intensive to the skill-intensive. Tripathi (2003) stated that training in general and skills development in particular, play a vital role in individual, organizational and overall national economic growth.
The rate of global development demands that teachers and other stakeholders of TVET in Nigeria cannot afford to remain ignorant of the needed changes to catch up with the development strides of other nations. To be up to date therefore, practitioners, systems, and materials need frequent updates. Obsolete schemes have to be phased out and retraining of teachers made to be result-oriented.
1. Nigeria must go beyond policy formulation and actually make TVET a priority in the national agenda. Only then will this sector witness any tangible change.
2. TVET stakeholders should be allowed more participation in governance.
3. There should be increase in investment in this sector
4. Loan schemes should favour private establishments so that our student interns will have the needed work experience during practical attachments.
5. On campus jobs should be created to reduce students’ financial hardships and plant a seed of entrepreneurship in them while still in school.
6. Staff retraining should be made a must for all practitioners of TVET both in the school system and industry.
If the Nigerian man/woman is transformed, the nation will be transformed effortlessly. The dream remains far-fetched as long as the polity remains unpurged.
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